New Resources!

Friends, I’m so excited to share with you some of the resources I’ve recently discovered (or been reminded of) in my walk with Jesus. You can find the rest of the resources I love here.

Trusting God

Why is it easier to obey God than to trust Him?
Because obeying God makes sense to us. In most cases, His laws appear reasonable and wise, and even when we don’t want to obey them, we usually concede that they are good for us. But the circumstances we find ourselves in often defy explanation. Before long, we begin to doubt God’s concern for us or His control over our lives. We ask, “Why is God allowing this?” or “What have I done wrong?”

God has used this book so powerfully in my life to equip me in the battle with anxiety. You can read more here.

The Valley of Vision–free

This is a collection of puritan prayers and devotions. Don’t let the cover turn you off. It is filled with scripturally and theologically rich prayers to worship and enjoy God. It’s often been a great starting place to help me worship God and then talk to Him about what’s on my mind and heart. 

“This book has been prepared not to ‘supply’ prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.”

You can read the prayers for free here, but I’m grateful for my hardcopy to highlight and meditate on. 

Every Moment Holy

“EVERY MOMENT HOLY is a book of liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life–liturgies such as “A Liturgy for Feasting with Friends” or “A Liturgy for Laundering” or “A Liturgy for the First Hearthfire of the Season.” These are ways of reminding us that our lives are shot through with sacred purpose even when, especially when, we are too busy or too caught up in our busyness to notice.”

This is such a beautiful guide for learning how to see every part of our lives as a way to meet the Lord. (And McKelvey’s words are so well-chosen and biblical.) I’m hopeful that the less-expensive paperback version will be released soon, but you can find the hardcover version now. 

Fundamentals of the Faith

“If you are a new believer or know someone who is, Fundamentals of the Faith is the perfect resource for establishing a solid biblical foundation for the Christian life.” 

This is an excellent discipleship material! It is in a workbook format with links to audio sermons related to each topic. 

Prayercast (free)

Not sure how to pray for the needs of the world? This is an incredible resource of 4-5 minute videos (from hundreds of places around the world), leading you in how to pray for them.

The Bible Project videos (free)

Their goal: To help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus.

I can’t recommend these short videos enough. There are videos giving the historical background, themes, and outline of each book of the Bible along with illustrations, and also videos about themes throughout Scripture. Just watch one. You’ll be hooked.

Songs for Saplings (Free)

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“Our mission is to equip the Church worldwide with rich, Biblical music to help children learn their faith through song.” 

I can’t get these little songs out of my head, and am so excited for my children to grow up hearing (and memorizing) these Bible verses set to music. She also has a series of albums teaching the Catechism for Young People through song. 

Trusting God

Has it been more difficult for you to trust God than to obey Him? It is for me.

God’s Word says He is completely sovereign, infinite in wisdom, and perfect in love. 

According to Jerry Bridges in his book “Trusting God,” 
When we fail to trust God, we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness. . . 

God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom, He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about. 

Is it a coincidence that Peter wrote about humility and the devil’s schemes as he called the believers to cast their anxieties on God? 

1 Peter 5:6-8 says:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 

It’s a lot easier to submit to God’s hand when I believe the truth Bridges wrote, that my “suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good” (Rom 8:28). Satan wants nothing more than for me to doubt God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love, because it keeps me from going to my Father and leading others to do the same. 

My pastor has reminded me that faithfulness is not the absence of any feelings of concern, but obediently engaging the Enemy. So what are you anxious about right now? Will you tell God how you feel and then join with the Spirit by asking for faith to believe in God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love working all things together for His glory and to make you more like Christ? 

I’ll share more in the next post about some practices that have helped me engage the battle, but for now, would you consider getting Trusting God by Jerry Bridges? He will lead you all over Scripture to confirm these truths that can be so hard to believe.

Battling Anxiety

Since anxiety is a battle where I’ve been learning how to obediently engage the Enemy, I thought over the next few posts, I’d share some thoughts and practices God has used to help me not give up.

Philippians 4:6-9 says:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

  1. We are to pray about everything (with specific requests and with thanksgiving).
  2. Think about what is true, noble, right, pure . . . 
  3. Live in obedience by the Spirit’s enabling.

Because emotions are reflections of what I believe to be true, two questions have been immensely helpful for me:

How is Christ inviting me to think about this situation?

What does obedience look like in this situation? 

The feeling doesn’t have to change right away if I am seeking to be obedient, but I can also look forward to God’s commitment to providing me with His peace. 

In the next post, I’ll share what some of this has looked like when I wake up during the night feeling anxious. 

Cookies With Jesus

How do I live in unselfishness and humility, considering the interests of others? How does my own physical and mental capacity fit into all this? How do I find enjoyment in the toil and ways God richly provides? How do I walk this life’s path in fullness of joy in His presence, with His easy yoke and light burden, and do everything for His glory? When I’ve tried to control my schedule and the people in it, I’ve felt like these things are impossible, that I’ll never have enough time to do His will. 

One picture God brought to mind was thinking of my time like a batch of chocolate chip cookies. If I ate the whole batch myself, I would feel sick. If I gave away all the cookies and let someone else lick out the bowl, I would feel sad. Instead, one morning I might get to eat one cookie alone with Jesus and then share the rest with my kids and husband. Another morning I might get to eat two or three with God. Some days the cookies will be pretty much all given to my children. Other days I might get to share a couple cookies with just my husband. Sometimes, our whole family will eat them together, and other times I’ll leave my husband and kids to enjoy the cookies with each other so that I can bring cookies to someone else. And some evenings, I might take a cookie into my room and shut the door, so that when I’m finished, I can re-enter family life with the pleasure lingering on my tongue.

Sometimes, I will eat too many cookies and feel sick. But that’s why Jesus came, to redeem my sins and mistakes and carry His work in my life to completion. Then the cookies shared with Him will last forever. So let’s keep baking! (Phil. 1:6, 2:3-8, Ecc. 2:24, Ps. 16:11, 1 Tim. 6:17, Matt. 11:28-30, Col. 3:17)

His Pastures

How do I do the good works God has prepared for me to do in this pandemic season? How do I know if I’m doing the right things, when others seem to be on such different adventures? My holy adventure right now is caring for my three children in the four walls of this home, which doesn’t seem like much of an adventure, or even a path leading somewhere. 

God gently helped me to think of my seasons as a pasture, with His sovereign care and protection and the principles from His Word being the fence. There’s not one path inside the fence, and He is the One who carries me into a different pasture when He wants to. I am safe to make choices in this pasture and laugh and enjoy the husband sheep and three little lambs in the pasture with me. 

Some sheep do lots of running and jumping in their pasture, and some do lots of drinking water and resting. He doesn’t love the active sheep more than the resting ones, and I don’t have to be afraid for sheep from other pastures to see my life in this pasture. 

Will you trust Him to fill you with His Spirit’s strength to do the things He’s called you to do in the pasture He has you in today? And that the rhythm of resting and working is beautiful to Him? 

I’ve had to repent of the lie that working is always more pleasing to Him than resting. I’ve had to repent of wanting to be in complete control of where my husband sheep and little lambs go in our pasture and what they do. And Jesus has given me the reminder of His role as my Good Shepherd leading me, interceding for me (whether I’m working or resting), and that He delights to give me the freedom to lay in the grass, looking up at the sky He made.

Christ’s World

As we wake each morning with the reality of the coronavirus, what reality should also fill our minds? This is Christ’s world. As Jonathan Edwards put it, “The rising and setting of the sun is a picture of the death and resurrection of Christ, the true light of the world.” He is victorious. His yoke, His way is light as we compare it to the weight of glory that is coming for those who are in Christ. A way that trusts Him without having to understand it all, leaning on Him as He makes our paths straight. According to Michael Reeves, “we most honor the Father by sharing his own everlasting delight in his Son.” As these realities capture our thoughts, we will be able to share this truth with the sick, the healthy, and the fearful. Will you take a moment to remember and worship this Christ?

Abide

What does it mean in John 15 for Jesus to be the Vine, the Father the Gardener, and me as a branch? Does the branch produce its own food? That’s the Vine’s job. Does it measure its fruitfulness? That’s the Gardener’s job. So what is my job? To drink in the Living Water coming through the roots of the Vine. Soaking in the truths of Scripture. Looking more like the Vine by obeying and repenting and knowing that I’ll never be cut off but only pruned with the pruning shears of transforming grace. And the grapes produced will be the grapes the Gardener shares with anyone who comes near so that when they take a bite, the juice dripping down their chins will be the sweetest thing they’ve tasted–the love and joy and peace of Christ. 

Jump

What does it mean for God’s peace to guard my heart and mind in Christ? He’s showing me that hope and trust are the opposite of anxiety. When I’m not leaning on my own understanding, it means that His peace will be beyond my understanding, too. When I believe my Sovereign Lord is in control of all my circumstances, locations, and relationships, and that He’s working it all together in a perfect harmony of my good and His glory, everything no longer has to make sense to me. When I’ve climbed a tree and see no way to get down again, and my Daddy opens His arms and says, “Jump,” His grace sends me into the air. (See Proverbs 3:5-6, Philippians 4:6-7)

Puzzles of Grace

I’ve memorized Proverbs 3:5-6, but what does it mean to trust in the Lord? To not lean on my own understanding? Will God really make my paths straight? These thoughts come as whispers into my heart:

My daughter, why don’t you try thanking Me for My plans for your future instead of trying to figure them all out? I love helping you to rest in My love right now, in the exact life you’re living right now. What am I asking you to do today? That’s what I’m taking delight in watching and helping and offering My grace and wisdom in. You are trying to fill in the gaps of the partly finished puzzle in your mind, but you don’t know what it’s going to look like when it’s finished. I haven’t given you all the pieces yet. Will you accept each piece as I give it, knowing that it might have different colors than you thought it would, but that it will all fit together perfectly in My puzzle of grace in your life? When you start to worry about the future, thank Me for the pieces I’m preparing for you, knowing that I will give each one at the right time.